A multicenter phase II trial of single-agent cetuximab in advanced esophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma

Ann Oncol. 2011 Jun;22(6):1367-1373. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdq604. Epub 2011 Jan 7.


Background: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in a significant proportion of esophageal and gastric carcinomas. Although previous studies have examined tyrosine kinase inhibitors of EGFR, there remains limited data regarding the role of EGFR-directed monoclonal antibody therapy in these malignancies. We carried out a multi-institutional phase II study of cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody against EGFR, in patients with unresectable or metastatic esophageal or gastric adenocarcinoma.

Patients and methods: Thirty-five patients with previously treated metastatic esophageal or gastric adenocarcinoma were treated with weekly cetuximab, at an initial dose of 400 mg/m(2) followed by weekly infusions at 250 mg/m(2). Patients were followed for toxicity, treatment response, and survival.

Results: Treatment with cetuximab was well tolerated; no patients were taken off study due to drug-related adverse events. One (3%) partial treatment response was noted. Two (6%) patients had stable disease after 2 months of treatment. Median progression-free survival and overall survival were 1.6 and 3.1 months, respectively.

Conclusion: Although well tolerated, cetuximab administered as a single agent had minimal clinical activity in patients with metastatic esophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma. Ongoing studies of EGFR inhibitors in combination with other agents may define a role for these agents in the treatment of esophageal and gastric cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cetuximab
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cetuximab